Digitally-mediated Learning Activity


Digitally-mediated Learning Activity Karl Bayek EDU520: Digitally-Mediated Technology and Learning Michelle Herrera

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity Digitally-mediated Learning Activity Educators “must learn how to effectively use technology in a way that gives students more control of the learning process” (Project Tomorrow, 2009, p.6). Technology can make learning more interesting, engaging, collaborative and individualized. Learning can become


student-centered, allowing each learner more personal control over the way that they manage and explore the resources that are available to them. Students‟ abilities, capacities, experiences and needs are individual, and must be understood to fully involve all in the learning process. Learning experiences and assessments that allow freedom of expression and creativity in applying knowledge and skills, along with valuing creative and critical problem solving, foster individual choice and deeper personal connection of the learner. The digitally-mediated learning activity that has been designed is student-centered, based on personalized interest, integrates technology and “empowers [students] to take control of their learning by providing flexibility on several dimensions” (U.S. Dept. of Ed., 2010). The goal is to bridge the informal and formal environments and experiences to engage students in applying their classroom acquired knowledge in an original, creative and self-directed way. Theoretical Framework Dr. Howard Gardner‟s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI Theory) provides the theoretical framework for the learning activity. “We are not all the same; we do not have the same kinds of minds; and education works most effectively if these differences are taken into account rather than denied or ignored” (Pearson, 1998). Gardner was concerned with the different ways that people learn and demonstrate intellectual ability. These seven „Intelligences‟ define very different, yet interconnected, abilities that we all possess (Verbal/Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Musical/Rhythmic, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Visual/Spatial, Interpersonal,

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity Intrapersonal) (McCoog, 2007). Teaching using MI Theory results in a number of positive outcomes. By understanding these diverse mental capabilities and designing learning environments and experiences that stimulate all these areas, we can engage all students by


activating and developing their individual strengths. A learning environment designed around MI Theory has the power to develop the „whole student‟ by activating and utilizing various mental capacities. “Content retention of the learners has increased by engaging multiple senses, including auditory, visual, and kinesthetic ones” (Callahan, 2000). Students are more engaged and motivated when they can apply and demonstrate their learning through Intelligences they are strong in. Engagement and motivation are the driving forces that create an active, involved and interested learner. Student motivation has to do with the individual‟s desire to participate in the learning process. Intrinsic motivation is an internal drive to learn based on interest or enjoyment in the learning process. The planned learning activity allows students freedom of choice in selecting a contemporary artist based on their interest and “flexible means of expression” in selecting the media through which they will construct and present their learning. This flexibility in applying and demonstrating their knowledge enables students to employ their personal strengths. Intrinsic motivation and authentic engagement should be high given the opportunity for students to utilize technology to research, create and present content personalized to their own focus and skills. Learning Activity

The technology based learning activity utilizes the knowledge and skills gained through in-class activities, formal learning, and allows students to choose their own learning path and presentation media, informal learning. The digitally mediated learning activity requires students to make connections between what they have learned through face-to-face guided discovery and

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity active learning activities, and technology based research. The project is designed for students enrolled in Art II. These students have completed Art I, a full-year, comprehensive art course


covering a variety of two- and three- dimension art materials, techniques and processes as well as experiences in assessment, judgment and reflection of artwork. The Art II course is a face-toface learning environment. Demonstration of techniques, explanation of project criteria and learning outcomes, as well as viewing student exemplars are the direct instruction methods used to initiate a new project. Once this initial project introduction has taken place, the classes are based on guided discovery. Students learn through practice with the material and techniques, utilize problem-solving and critical thinking abilities to plan and develop their most effective solution for the challenges posed, and interact with their peers. Face-to-face dialogue, verbal and visual feedback and demonstration, positive support, and critical inquiry to guide students in developing their own creative direction throughout the development of an artwork is essential to developing the artistic skills and thought process of a young artist. Taking risks artistically and creatively can be very uncomfortable, therefore, teacher support is crucial to maintain a student‟s confidence and motivation in the face of uncertainty.

Guided discovery in itself is not enough for students to reap the full benefits of the creative process. Therefore, active learning tasks are built into the learning process; activities like Think/Write, collective brainstorming, analysis of contemporary artwork and various forms of peer critique. Reflection, assessments, interpretation and evaluation are the essential thought processes of these activities. Utilizing and developing these higher level thinking capacities is imperative to maximizing the learning potential of the artistic process. Through classroom activities (discussions, critiques and creating art) students develop knowledge of the Elements

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity


and Principles of Art, an understanding of the creative process and variety of art media, and the abilities to assess and develop a work of art. Students often discuss artwork that they discover on the internet. Their active pursuit of exciting things via the internet leads them to explore many works of art that engage them and motivate them to learn more. Keri Facer, Director of Learning Research at Futurelab, explains that informal day-to-day digitally mediated activities are often overlooked when discussing learning, but they must be acknowledged in understanding a wider 'ecology' of education (Futurelab, 2006). Students will select a contemporary artist whose work they find engaging through their own online investigation. They will then develop a digital media presentation based on their research, analysis and interpretation of the artist‟s work. Digital examples of the chosen artist‟s work must be used to illustrate the student‟s content. This media presentation will be an original creation by the student. It could be a slide presentation, a blog post with links to the artist‟s work, a video demonstrating the process and media the artist uses or any other creative digital expression of their learning. In class, each student will present their project to the class via digital projector. The variety of artists and various presentation media would "celebrate the multiple perspectives" that exist within the group, one of Elliot Eisner's 'Ten Lessons that Art Teach' (Eisner, 2002). All projects will be posted or linked to the class blog. Students will be required to post comments based on the assessment and evaluation of the projects of their peers. Each student must comment on the creations of three of their classmates. Students will develop capacities through this digitally-mediated project that are imperative for their growth as an effective life-long learner. The opportunity to “leverage informal learning by integrating it purposefully into the fabric of formal learning” will make the activity engaging and personally relevant to students (U.S. Dept. of Ed., 2010). The ability to

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity


connect what is learned formally and informally is crucial in the development of an individual as a life-long learner. The responsibility of self-direction in developing this project enables students to make critical assessments and judgments throughout the creative process. Creative and effective communication of learning is a key element of this activity. Knowledge acquisition alone is not enough, an effective learner must be able to apply and communicate their learning to others, not in a standardized way, but through a means of expression that gives them ownership over what they learned. Utilization of technology to locate related content of various media and organize selected elements into a new whole is an essential skill of a twenty-first century learner. Individual creativity is the cornerstone of this project. Generating solutions to problems requires the creative process of going beyond previously learned concepts and rules. “Creativity involves selecting the relevant aspects of a problem and putting pieces together into a coherent system that integrates the new information with what a person already knows” (King, 1998, p.14). Creativity overlaps with other characteristics, such as “intelligence, academic ability, dependability, adaptiveness, and independence” and can “evolve within each of the seven intelligences” (Crowl et al., 1997, pp. 195–196). This project is designed to meet the U.S. Department of Education‟s „Learning Power by Technology‟ goal which states, “All learners will have engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and out of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society” (U.S. Dept. of Ed., 2010). Technology “We need to think about how technology, content, and knowledge about learning and teaching can be creatively combined to enhance education and ignite students‟ passions, imaginations and desires to participate in constant learning (and sense making) of the world

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity


around us” (Open Educational Technology, 2008, p.vx). Learning environments that integrate technology suit the needs of modern, diverse learners when students are engaged in activities involving creativity, communication, critical thinking and problem solving. The wealth of internet based resources provides opportunities for the personalization of learning because it allows learners to interact with the material and create new resources based on their own knowledge and creativity. “We need to understand how we can support a new kind of engagement by learners so they can invent new ways to learn and find new paths to solutions for their own problems” (Schwier, 2010, p. 92). The changing demands of workplace skills require schools to focus on developing active learners who are motivated to continually develop knowledge and skills (Becta, 2008). Technology is integrated throughout the entire learning activity. The exploration and research of contemporary artists is internet based. Students can use search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing), social media (Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest) or art centered websites (Artistaday, Sweet-Station, Beautiful/Decay) to survey, investigate and select artists. The very act of searching the internet for information is dependent on prior knowledge; comprehension is a prerequisite for constructing meaning from what is found. A base of knowledge is necessary to build more complex concepts and levels of thinking. Connections from lower to higher order thinking must be created by “elaborating the given material, making inferences beyond what is explicitly presented, building adequate representations, analyzing and constructing relationships” (Lewis & Smith, 1993, p. 133). The presentation of their learning and critical thinking about their chosen artist can be any creative application of their content through a digital media. Cloud-based options are ideal because of the ability to create, edit and view from any technology device, in any location. Students can create a digital slide presentation (Sliderocket, Prezi,

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity


PowerPoint), a blog post (on the class Blogger site, or on their own blog), a video (using iMoive, Movie Maker) that can uploaded (to YouTube, Vimeo, Google Video) or any other digital creation. Student projects will be presented to the class via digital projector. The class blog will contain posts and links to all projects, and provide the platform for students to create and share the critiques of the projects of their peers. Assessment and Evaluation Multiple assessments and evaluations during the progress of the project will allow students to benefit from the learning experience. Clearly established and presented expectations, self-monitoring, and peer and teacher feedback will provide the structure and support toward developing a high quality presentation of their learning. A criterion-referenced analytic rubric will be used to structure and assess the project criteria and learning objectives of the project. Criterion-referenced assessment requires an articulation of criterion upon which student performance is evaluated. Through the analytic structure the levels of proficiency within each of the project criteria can be clearly defined. This type of rubric must include rich and descriptive language for each of the descriptors. “Each level should be a clear, coherent explication and qualitatively more sophisticated than the previous one to enable teachers and students to track the development of learning” (Davies, 2000, p.8). The analytic rubric allows students and the teacher to identify strengths and areas of improvement within each individual criterion. This degree of specific feedback on their performance would provide the “scaffolding necessary to improve the quality of their work and increase their knowledge” throughout the development of the project (TeacherVision). The project criteria categories are Content, Organization, Engagement, Creativity and Effort. By building creativity into the rubric, it will emphasize originality in developing ideas beyond ordinary solutions and

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity the creation of work that is truly based on individual expression. Incorporating effort into the rubric would provide differentiation in grading for the variety of abilities and skill levels that students possess. This rubric will be presented to students through the introduction and explanation of the project. A content outline, containing questions and prompts related to research, analysis,


interpretation and project idea development, will be given to students when initiating the project. This outline will structure the content that must be included in the digital presentation. Students will complete the content outline by responding to the questions and prompts in written form. The combination of project rubric and content outline will allow students to monitor their own progress, and set goals for further development. Self-monitoring through the constant reference of the rubric will provide continuous and immediate feedback. Internal feedback through selfassessment raises self-awareness and promotes personal control in the learning process. Butler and Winne, emphasize the “internal sources of feedback generated through self-monitoring as a critical engine of self-regulated learning” (Butler & Winne, 1995). Students typically make a sincere effort to learn and demonstrate what is expected of them, but are often unsure if they are on the right path. “The fear of being wrong is the prime inhibitor of the creative process” (Bryant, 2002). In-progress peer discussion, sharing of content and idea development, and peer assessment provides the opportunity to offer and receive peer feedback. Student interactions in which they actively converse with each other based on the project concepts allow them more room and time to access feedback. “With peer evaluation students see each other as resources for understanding and checking for quality work against previously established criteria” (Garrison & Ehringhaus, 2007). Students individually working toward the same achievement goals serve as a great asset to one another in the creative process.

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity


Having students judge peer work and ideas develops their skills in evaluation and justification. This promotes a greater understanding of project concepts and expectations through direct application of the criteria in the role of an assessor. The content outline will allow the teacher to periodically monitor each student‟s progress throughout the development of the project. Review of the content outline by the teacher will lead to feedback, support and dialogue. Individual dialogue is a crucial component of the differentiation process, whereby the teacher assesses where each student requires individualized instruction. It allows the teacher to determine exactly what type of learner each student is, and to find the most beneficial type of feedback to give. Strong, relevant and useful feedback shows how much teachers care about the growth of their students. “Students like feedback and identify it as one of the most important qualities of a good preceptor, second only to clinical competence” (University of Virginia). It provides the opportunity for the teacher to show interest in the student‟s development, ideas and individual expression. When students believe their teachers share a belief in their abilities and talents, they are more likely to use the feedback to improve their performance (Wolsey). The digital presentation is the culmination of student research, and critical and creative thinking. This assessment will allow students to communicate their learning and creativity through a digital media and individual „Intelligence‟ of their choice. In addition to the in-class presentation, the digital creation will be posted or linked to the class blog. Students will be required to critically respond to the creations of three of their classmates by offering feedback through the blog. Critical feedback will be focused through the structure and content of the project rubric. Each student will then write an individual reflection of their own digital presentation. Reflective thinking has historically been promoted as a central part of learning.

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity


Teacher assessment of the final work will be completed on the project rubric. Every student will be provided with highly detailed written feedback highlighting the major achievements of the work and explaining the improvements that could be made to continue development. “Digital learning resources enable engaging individual learners‟ personal interests by connecting web-learning resources to learning standards, providing options for adjusting the challenge level of learning tasks to avoid boredom or frustration, and bridging informal and formal learning in and out of school” (U.S. Dept. of Ed., 2010). We must take advantage of and develop the capacities of the “digital natives” that fill our classrooms by bridging the informal and formal environments and experiences in engaging, creative and self-directed ways (Prensky, 2001). “This process, which ensures that facts are internalized, is the crux of education” (Novak, 2011). Activities that allow flexibility and creativity in demonstrating learning motivate students to take control of their learning, and fully invest mentally and emotionally in the process.

Digitally-mediated Learning Activity


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Digitally-mediated Learning Activity Technology Outside School. Retrieved from

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Digitally-mediated Learning Activity %20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part2.pdf


Project Tomorrow. (2009). Learning in the 21st Century: 2009 Trends Update. Retrieved from Schwier, R.A. (2010). Focusing Educational Technology Research on Informal Learning Environments. Contemporary Educational Technology, 1(1), 90-92. TeacherVision. (nd). The Advantages of Rubrics. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. (2010). Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology . Washington, DC. Wolsey, T. (2009). Feedback on Student Work Builds Relationships. Retrieved from